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Croft and Wesson by Brad Magnarella

Reading and reviewing the stories in Eight in the Chamber anthology.  This is book #3, a short novella that has Prof Croft winging it to help out Wesson.  Will he make it out alive?

Croft & Wesson
Author:  Brad Magnarella
Series:  Prof Croft
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source:  purchased by reviewer in Anthology, Eight in the Chamber


Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words …SPOILERS. *BEWARE*

Nervous Nellie says…

This is a review of the third story in the anthology.  James Wesson really does not take his job seriously.  He has to use the assistance of Everson Croft in order to figure out why blond women are disappearing.  It could be a serial killer, right?  It’s nothing to do with the gold bracelets and any kind of magic, could it?

Well, you know it does.  Croft & Wesson battle a bunch of were wolves that James owes a huge debt to, they have to stay on the straight and narrow of the local Sheriff how is wiley and cantankerous and try and stop whatever or whoever is sending bracelets to the ladies in town.  The story is a good one.  It doesn’t add a whole lot to the over arching series story, so it’s a good standalone to test out the waters.

There is some grisly parts, a puzzle and one big scary dude.  Check it out.  It’s worth it!


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Flight 232: A Story of Disaster and Survival by Laurence Gonzales

Come with me. Honor those heroes and survivors of Flight 232 and remember those who were lost on this 30th anniversary of the disaster in Sioux City, Iowa.

Title: Flight 232: A Story of Disaster and Survival
Author:  Laurence Gonzales
Publish Date: July 13, 2015
Genre:  non-fiction
Source:  Purchased by reviewer

Publisher’s Description:  As hundreds of rescue workers waited on the ground, United Airlines Flight 232 wallowed drunkenly over the bluffs northwest of Sioux City. The plane slammed onto the runway and burst into a vast fireball. The rescuers didn’t move at first: nobody could possibly survive that crash. And then people began emerging from the summer corn that lined the runways. Miraculously, 184 of 296 passengers lived.

No one has ever attempted the complete reconstruction of a crash of this magnitude. Drawing on interviews with hundreds of survivors, crew, and airport and rescue personnel, Laurence Gonzales, a commercial pilot himself, captures, minute by minute, the harrowing journey of pilots flying a plane with no controls and flight attendants keeping their calm in the face of certain death. He plumbs the hearts and minds of passengers as they pray, bargain with God, plot their strategies for survival, and sacrifice themselves to save others.

Ultimately he takes us, step by step, through the gripping scientific detective work in super-secret labs to dive into the heart of a flaw smaller than a grain of rice that shows what brought the aircraft down.

An unforgettable drama of the triumph of heroism over tragedy and human ingenuity over technological breakdown, Flight 232 is a masterpiece in the tradition of the greatest aviation stories ever told.

Ruby Lee says…


On a humid, hot, and sticky July day, countless lives were changed forever when a crippled DC- 10 airplane drunkenly made its way to the airport in Sioux City, IA.   On July 18, 1989, an odd series of mechanical events, that some in the aeronautics world had labeled improbable, crippled the plane over Alta, IA.  By another odd series of events that many label a miracle, the plane was able to make it to the Sioux Gateway Airport but crashed on landing.  The crash tore the plane in pieces and exploded into a fiery projectile.  The film of the crash has been played innumerable times on local and national TV in the last 30 years.  It was the first time a crash of a jumbo jet had ever been recorded.  The miracle is that because of the efforts of the flight crew and the preparedness of the people of Siouxland, a 185 people survived that day

As the 30 year anniversary of the crash of Flight 232 approached, I felt drawn to read this book.  Thirty years ago today, I was in Sioux City with my mom and brother.  The 12 year old me was getting the last of what I needed for the Church camp I would be attending the following week in Okoboji, IA.   We spent much of the day in the Southern Hills Mall which is located only a few miles from the airport.  As we started the 45 minute drive home, we began to see ambulances, fire trucks and other emergency vehicles racing to Sioux City.  My mom and I read out loud the names on the side of each vehicle which matched the name of a local community.  We wondered what could have possibly happened to cause the need for that many emergency personal.  We didn’t know that the flight tower had called an “Alert Three” which mobilized 80 pieces of emergency equipment from 40 different communities to the air field.  When we arrived home, the 3 TV channels that we could receive back then were filled with the horrible images of a crashing plane with the beautiful blue Iowa sky in the background.

Laurence Gonzales wove this story together masterfully.  Somehow, he was able to tell a 100 small stories inside one impressive book that flowed together seamlessly.  The amount of research and interviews that he did is almost unimaginable. The attention to even the smallest details brought this story to life. This book made me feel like I know many of these people personally despite the fact I have never met them. He also tells the story of the defective part of the engine from the day that it was made, to the day it brought down the plane, then to the Alta, IA field where it was undetectable until it was found by a combine during the harvest, and finally to the research area of “Cell 10” at GE where it was analyzed on the micro level and a cause was found.

The audiobook is also remarkable.  I listened to half this book while traveling and finished the story by reading it on my kindle. Either way, I feel that you will find this book as amazing as I did.

Other recommendations…

…you might try Invisible Heroes of World War II: True Stories That Should  Never Be Forgotten by Jerry Borrowman.

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Fire Season by Stephen Blackmoore

Eric Carter has a difficult life and a more than difficult wife.  Can he fix all this and save the city?

Title: Fire Season
Author:  Stephen Blackmoore
Series:  Eric Carter #4
Publish Date: April 16, 2019
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: bought by reviewer

Publisher’s Description:  Los Angeles is burning.

During one of the hottest summers the city has ever seen, someone is murdering mages with fires that burn when they shouldn’t, that don’t stop when they should. Necromancer Eric Carter is being framed for the killings and hunted by his own people.

To Carter, everything points to the god Quetzalcoatl coming after him, after he defied the mad wind god in the Aztec land of the dead. But too many things aren’t adding up, and Carter knows there’s more going on.

If he doesn’t figure out what it is and put a stop to it fast, Quetzalcoatl won’t just kill him, he’ll burn the whole damn city down with him.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words …SPOILERS. *BEWARE*

Nervous Nellie says…

Wow.  This was an eventful book.  Hold on to your seat when you start, because it is a ride.  This a strictly urban fantasy with no romance, but considerable violence and cussing.  Spell slinging and danger are the by products.

I love Eric Carter books.  He flies by the seat of his pants but never seems to get dead.  He gets into some very tight spots, actually practically impossible spots, but somehow he always finds a way.  The thing about Eric Carter right now is that he is involved with some ancient gods and Aztec history.  I know neither so it was a tidgy difficult to follow, but he does recap to make it more understandable to people like me.

Eric has to employ a lot of his gut feelings in this story.  Who to trust and how to play a situation by knowing how certain kinds of people (greedy people) will respond.  He loses some of the population due to the gods and their lack of consideration of human life.  He feels every one of those lives expire.  He risks a lot to save who he can when he can, but he still beats himself up over it all.  He knows he has made bad choices, but often those choices came from no choice at all.

If you like necromancers (not the creepy kind), then Eric Carter would be a good series to start.  He grows a lot in the first couple of books and then when he takes off, he takes off like a rocket.

I give this book a solid 5 because it was edge of my seat, one sitting read.


Our reviews in this series…


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Bleak Harbor by Bryan Gruley

Bleak Harbor is a fast paced who-done-it with a twist as the kidnapped child in question is on the autism spectrum.

Title:  Bleak Harbor
Author: Bryan Gruley
Series:  Bleak Harbor #1
Publish Date:  December 1, 2018
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Publisher’s Description:  Their son is gone. Deep down, they think they’re to blame.

Summertime in Bleak Harbor means tourists, overpriced restaurants, and the Dragonfly Festival. One day before the much-awaited and equally chaotic celebration, Danny Peters, the youngest member of the family that founded the town five generations ago, disappears.

When Danny’s mother, Carey, and stepfather, Pete, receive a photo of their brilliant, autistic, and socially withdrawn son tied to a chair, they fear the worst. But there’s also more to the story. Someone is sending them ominous texts and emails filled with information no one else should have. Could the secrets they’ve kept hidden—even from one another—have led to Danny’s abduction?

As pressure from the kidnapper mounts, Carey and Pete must face their own ugly mistakes to find their son before he’s taken from them forever.

Agent Annie says…


Bleak Harbor is a fast paced who-done-it with a twist as the kidnapped child in question is on the autism spectrum.  I enjoyed the family dynamics of a mother, son and step father and all the various entanglements they each are caught up in.  I was definitely kept guessing as to who did the kidnapping. Unfortunately, I thought the last quarter of the book introduced too many possibilities and added more characters than I could keep track of.  Many of whom seemed just a distraction to the main story. I also thought the final reveal and the manner in which the kidnapping was pulled off was too complicated and I found myself doubting that the character was given enough backstory to make it believable. I also felt a connection to the small town on the shore of Great Lake Michigan since I am familiar with actual towns that are in the same locale.  The history of the town and the matriarch’s interaction with the townspeople was well done and I appreciated the “justice” that was meted out at the end. I would give this book 3.5.


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Cold Hard Steele by Alex P. Berg

Jake is at it again, however, Shay Steele is making progress on him!

Title: Cold Hard Steele
Author: Alex P. Berg
Series:  Daggers and Steele #2
Publish Date:  October 16, 2014
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source:  purchased by reviewer

Publisher’s Description: Detective Jake Daggers hates three things–mornings, walking, and naked guys.

So when he and his sexy half-elf partner, Shay Steele, get called to a murder scene featuring a bare-bottomed doughy dude with an icy dagger sticking out of his chest, he’s not amused.

Even less happy? The Captain, when the lone murder turns into a cold-bladed epidemic.

In a case featuring frost mages, enchanted weaponry, and a jaded mystery writer, Daggers and Steele must race against the clock to discover who’s delivering deadly doses of COLD HARD STEELE.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words …SPOILERS. *BEWARE*

Nervous Nellie says…

Jake is at it again, however, Shay Steele is making progress on him!  He’s trying to be available for his kid, which is a good start.  He’s calling Steele ‘detective’ like he actually means it as a profession and not a joke.  He’s making progress.

I enjoyed this book.  I read the book as well as listened to the audiobook.  The author is still the narrator.  I’m still not real keen on it because his change between characters leads to cracked voice syndrome which distracts from the story.  Further into the book, Jake becomes less annoying and more like a team player, so I will cut him some slack – but not much.  He didn’t know vampires existed in the last book.  In this book, he learns that werewolves are real.  Now, I find it hard to believe that in 10 years of detective work that the creatures Jake works with on a day to day basis didn’t mention werewolves.  There are goblins, ogres, elves, mages, magic users, and vampires.  Why wouldn’t there be werewolves?

Anyway, Shay Steele saved the day by figuring out a lot more than she should have since Jake has seniority as well as experience.  Steele is one smart cookie by figuring out the daggers being used, however, if you are good at figuring out who-dun-it, you will figure it out easily.  If I could figure it out, anyone can because I’m not that smart.

Shay is getting a little touchy feely in this story so I don’t know if a romance is in the air or not.  I kind of hope not because I think Shay deserves better, but we’ll see.  Yes, I will be reading book #3.

Other reviews of the series:

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